Take time to love and be loved; it is Go

Take time to love and be loved; it is God’s greatest gift. Check out my blog: http://ow.ly/kocW305oiLd

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Do you take time for love?

Take time to love and be loved. It is God’s greatest gift.

My daughter and I were filling out an application for her student leadership position at the school. The application asked questions about student’s skills and qualification for the various leadership positions. One of the questions asked the respondent to list three  top skills that were qualifications to be a student ambassador.

As I posed this question to my daughter, a huge grin appeared on her face. She had her answer and was ready. I asked Amelia, “What are your top skills that make you a candidate to be a student ambassador?”

She said, Mommy… kindness and love.”

I said, “Amelia, I think you need to list three skills as the application calls for, and you need to explain a little more.”

She began shaking her head side to side and finally said, “Mom, love covers it all. I don’t need to say anything more.”

I was stunned — Upstaged yet again by my ten-year-old. Love does cover everything. Love is the greatest gift given to us by our Creator. Love connects us. Love feeds and sustains us. Love is the beginning, and love never, ever ends.

Yes, my dear Amelia, love — the greatest gift — does, in fact, cover everything. It is how God breathed life into the dirt and created humans, and it is what remains long after we humans leave this earth for the next place.

Amen!

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What is your goosebump moment?

Dear friends as I am gearing up for my book launch, I would love from others about those precious moments when you were able to see and feel the divine in your day. Stories can be serious, or they can be hilarious. I am hoping to be able to have an incredible range of stories so more peeps can begin to see God in their day.

One of my goals in writing my book is to encourage others to feel more comfortable and confident in sharing goosebump God moments. I believe when we share pointing2God stories we grow in our faith and fuel each other faith journeys!

Follow this link to share your wonderful ah-ha, God-filled moments. I will also be collecting stories at the book launch Sunday, October 9th 2-4pm at Chanhassen Recreation Center. I can’t wait to see what you all have in store to share!
If you are not sure if you have ever had or been able to see and experience the divine in your day, I encourage you to read my book. My hope is to share with you and open your eyes and heart to Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.
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When seemingly random things connect…

I just love it when things connect – especially when they combine seemingly random events in your life, and they all point to something bigger than ourselves. This past Sunday at church we sang the hymn “How Great Thou Art” which always brings me to tears because my trunk of junk filled with all the emotions I have ever attended where they always play this hymn, and it smacks my being like a ton of bricks. Fresh from my vacation to Banff National Park I was much more relaxed and open to the words of the hymn this morning.

As the musical phrases began to dance across the screen, I was able to see this hymn in a brand new light. The lyrics beautifully describe the awe and wonder of a mountaintop experience. Just this past week our family climbed a mountain in Banff. To say it was hard was an understatement as everyone in my family is trained athlete or Boy Scout except for me. The climb was hard, but I was determined, and I knew that the views and time spent at the top would be worth it. After two hours of hiking and the countless switchbacks, we were not disappointed. The views were just the same lyrics from the hymn described – awesome, wondrous, powerful all came to mind. Just like the hymn shares in the first verse.

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made
I see the stars; I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed (Source: Google Play Music)

Reflecting on this hymn and my hiking experience I would like to encourage you to lift up your heads and look around at the wonders of the world that surround you. Be it your loved ones, the outdoors, the grand rolling thunderstorms or a gentle late summer breeze. Soak it in and remember that the One who created all of this for us is not only great but He also loves you like crazy.

Want to read other stories where seemingly random events weave together into beautiful, faith-filled moments?  I  invite you to read my book Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary today!

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Do you take the time to…

Take Time – An Old English Prayer

Take time to think:
it is the source of power.

Take time to read;
it is the foundation of wisdom.

Take time to play;
it is the secret of staying young.

Take time to be quiet;
it is the opportunity to see God.

Take time to be aware;
it is the opportunity to help others.

Take time to love and be loved;
it is God’s greatest gift.

Take time to laugh;
it is the music of the soul.

Take time to be friendly;
it is the road to happiness.

Take time to dream;
it is what the future is made of.

Take time to pray;
it is the greatest power on earth.

Do you seek stories that help open your thinking and being? Do you find stories that point to a way of living and being that points to and reflects the divine? Then check out my book Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.

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Do you take the time to dream?

 

Take time to dream; it’s what the future is made. I wonder what would happen if you could intentionally make and take the time to simply think about what could be and how that would make your heart sing with joy? When you stay close to what brings you joy, not only do you feel better, but your performance improves. So how do you this?

The first critical step is to set aside time and remove yourself from the daily grind. In doing so, you get closer to who you truly are, what makes you tick and where you find joy. Some of us may do this through leadership courses or positions. Others may sign up for workshops or may be self-drivers and seek this through online webinars, books or with peer groups. For me this ‘Who Am I?” or “Who Are We?” is THE starting point in working with individuals and organizations be it with youth (Girl Scouts), my graduate courses (Courageous & Authentic Leadership), or working with clients (missing vision & values). This soft look into the mirror of truth to discover and begin to understand our current state is the first step.

Next, comes the chance to step out of your first person experience and look around at the world. How do others see you? How and where do you fit in the world? When you do this, have fresh, open eyes and ears to begin to find new opportunities that exist around you. Having open eyes, ears, and even your heart are critical pieces for the wealth of experience of dreaming and being open to what is possible for your future.

Over the last few weeks, I reviewed my life’s goals and realized that they are more than four years old. GASP! While I am pleased to see that I have accomplished many of my short term goals, I also noticed that many of my long-term (five and ten years) goals have shifted. Although this change is a good thing, the lack of clarity on where we head explains the tension I have been feeling in my work and personal life.

My biggest ah-ha was when I realized that I have not set aside any time since the spring of 2015 to dream about what could be. Argh! I’ve been so busy and focused on daily activities that I have missed lifting my head up to look at and dream about the horizon. I need to set aside time to remove myself from the day to day grind and schedule a family vacation as well as time for myself. Taking time to dream and developing a vision as well as refreshing my goals needs to be a top priority. I love the saying, “when you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there!”

Life gets busy, and without placeholders, we can miss the opportunity to dream and think beyond our day to day life. Stepping out of doing and stepping into being and dreaming is such important work for each of us. Dreaming is also important for our loved ones. My husband asks our children to name their goals both at the beginning of the school year as well as at the start of summer. Having intention helps not only our kids but us as parents to know how we can best support their goals. Living with purpose is very helpful when we have competing priorities or what seems like difficult decisions to make.

Our dreams and the goals that come as a result of those ideas help guide us and keep us on track. A future that fulfills us will bring us the joy that our Creator hopes for each of us! So take the time to dream, it is what the future is made of.

If you see the inspiration for stepping out of doing and stepping into being, follow the link below to my book Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary and never be the same!

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Do you take the time to worship?

Take time to worship’ it is the highway to reverence. One of the great gifts’ I receive every week is attending weekly worship. As a young person, I used to get dressed Sunday mornings begrudgingly and wasn’t too happy about not being able to sleep late or just relax on Sunday mornings. Over the years this hesitation began to melt as I went to worship and found lovely nuggets of wisdom or connections to what was happening in my life. I often wondered if the scripture lesson had was chosen with me in mind. They were timely and always helped to gently stretch my thinking or understanding of a situation I was facing in my life

Now as a parent of four active kids we have a family commitment to attend weekly worship. Are we perfect – um no but we try our best. I can always tell when our family has been to worship as the flow of our week is smoother, and each of us gains something from the service.

Over the last few years, I have broadened my understanding of worship. Now I can see that I can pray anywhere in the world. Whether I am in a workplace, sideline, grocery store, small groups study or home I can make time to worship my Heavenly Father through prayer, reading His word and spending time in a relationship with Him.

When I worship God, I always begin with praise for all the blessings. Then I move to share the areas where I have turned away from God. Being able to name where and how I turn away from God and what I can I do to turn towards Him. Praise and repentance are how I begin my prayers and worship.

I invite you to take the time to praise God every day and throughout the day. Don’t let where you are limit you. God is within each of us, and He is accessible. He awaits spending time with us. Try it today and see what happens. Amen!

If you seek other stories to spark your relationship with the divine in your day, follow the link below to my book which is full of inspiring and engaging stories. Amen!

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Do you take the time to be aware?

Take time to be aware. It’s the opportunity to help others. As a graduate school instructor I am continually amazed when I ask my students how many of them have done training or received instruction on the topics of attention, listening and conversing. The response rate is pretty low which I see as a window of opportunity! Many of us take for granted our ability to fully listen or be fully aware of what is happening around us.

Time after time, many a client have missed key clues or signals as to what’s going on around them and therefore, work with a very limited view of the situation. This limited information becomes the basis for their determination of what the problem is that they are trying to solve. They then launch into problem-solving without ever fully understanding what was going on in the first place. So things only get worse with everyone getting more frustrated. What if we could do better?

There are many reasons why we may not be aware. The first is that we all move way too fast to even have the capacity to take notice. Our lives are so jam packed with activities and hurrying to get to the next place we miss the opportunity to notice. We miss the opportunity to observe and to even think about asking a question or connecting with others. Secondly, our brains and bodies are so bombarded with stimulation from all our senses that we have no bandwidth to capture anything more. We cannot prioritize all the information coming at us so we begin to tune out what is happening around us because all the information is simply too much to handle. Most importantly, many of us have not taken the time to learn the skills needed that can heighten our sense of awareness in both active and passive situations.

When we have the capacity and the skills to be aware of the world around us and most importantly our fellow human beings, then we can begin to tune into how we can best serve others. Often times I will be in a situation and without asking I will go over and offer assistance, or send a hand written note or prompt another to aid someone. Unfortunately, so many others will have completely missed these opportunities. Those situations are teachable moments; opportunities for me to help others see what I have noticed.

One key piece of teaching others is to do so without judgment. I don’t want others to feel bad, I want others to feel safe and to be open to learning how they might better serve others. Better yet,  is seeing the opportunity to serve another and to see either a student or one of my children step into that moment because they were aware. These are the moments I treasure!

So take the time to slow down. Take time to think about what you give attention too. Take time to learn skills that will help you increase your awareness (body language, listening & conversing/group dynamics) and find the opportunities to help serve others.

For more stories about what you can see and find by slowing down, please follow the link to my book Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.

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Do you take the time to be angry…

Take the time to be angry but also make sure to take the time to be hurt, sad and vulnerable. After a tumultuous and emotional week as a nation, I feel it is critical to acknowledge that it is ok to be angry and ok to be sad. All too often in our fast-paced world, we tend to go from incredibly emotional experiences right to feelings of anger and revenge. We mask what is really behind this in the cloak of the need to be perceived as stable and unaffected. I would like to call attention to the importance of having feeling and the importance of being able to be in a place of weakness. Being vulnerable, being hurt, being sad are the things that we often hide behind our anger. I think it is also important for us as a nation and people to honor the incredible complexities that exist in our world. There are no easy solutions in the work that needs to happen to begin to heal our people and our communities.

On Sunday, our pastor told us that it is ok to be angry, just don’t sin because of your anger. I want to tease that out a bit because I think many of us will hear that and not be able to get to the real richness and wisdom that statement holds for every single one of us. Being angry is ok. When I heard of the latest shooting here in Minnesota, I cried. The sorrow for the man who was shot, the pain for the officers involved the sadness and loss for the community. Turning to violence is a choice, but I would say we have other options.

I wonder if we are open to other options. Do they require risk – yes? Do they need more of each of us – yes? Do they demand that we move outside our comfort zones – yes? Do they require that we do what many of us have been instructed to do from a very early age to do – yes? Do unto others as you would have done unto you, even when it is hard; even when it requires us to step outside of what we know; even when it challenges us to our core – yes, yes, yes. For us as a people to grow, to exist and to live in the community we must, must, must be open to failure and the unknown, we must be more open and vulnerable, and we must be far more humble in the fact that we need each other. We need each other’s gifts and talents to live on this planet.

For me, as one who loves God, it requires that I love my neighbor. For me, it requires that I get off my bottom here in the suburbs and go to places that aren’t always comfortable for me. I must go to places where communities are hurting. When I get there lacking the confidence of what to do or how to do it, but when I can believe in provision in those moments of need, then I feel strength and trust. I go to offer support that helps strengthen and bring resources that our precious communities and families need. I don’t do it for them; rather I contribute to building relationships and capacity in them so that they have better resources to address these very complex and challenging issues that are part of their environment. We must do this work together.

Dear friends, take the time to be angry but also make sure to take the time to be hurt, sad and vulnerable. For it is in our weakness with each other that the massive, impenetrable walls that we have built around each other come down and then real connections, right meaning, and real relationships can begin to take root and grow.

Do you seek other stories about hope and healing then follow the link to Seeing the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.

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